Kuala Lumpur is Malaysia’s capital and largest city. One of the fastest-growing cities in Southeast Asia, it is a culturally diverse, modern city with an abundance of family-friendly attractions.
From shopping and museums to green spaces, every member of the family can find something they love about this bustling place. Here are 25 must-see places to put on your itinerary.
1. Petronas Towers
These two adjoining towers are the tallest twin towers in the world and have been a local landmark since they opened in 1999.
Designed by Cesar Pelli, they feature a unique “skybridge.” Located on the 41st and 42nd floors, this double-decker glass bridge connects the towers together. It is built with enough flexibility to slide between the two towers, since they can sometimes sway during high winds.
-world’s tallest twin towers
-local landmark designed by Cesar Pelli
2. National Monument
Located near the Houses of Parliament, this sculpture honors those who died fighting for Malaysia’s freedom in World War Two and the Malayan Emergency (1948-1960). It has the distinction of being the world’s largest freestanding bronze sculpture display.
-close proximity to Houses of Parliament
-honors those who fought in multiple wars
-word’s largest freestanding bronze sculpture group
3. National Mosque of Malaysia
One of the largest and most beautiful mosques in the entire country, the National Mosque features a minaret that is 73 meters tall, and the main section of the mosque can hold 15,000 people.
Since Malaysia is a tropical country, the symbol of an umbrella is incorporated into the mosque’s architecture, with the main mosque featuring a roof that looks like an open umbrella and the minaret appearing to be a closed umbrella.
Designed in the 1950s, the mosque’s modern style is enhanced by the many reflecting pools and smaller gazebos within its grounds.
-large grounds with gazebos and reflecting pools
-symbolism of umbrella incorporated into design
4. Petaling Street
Part of Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown, this pedestrianized shopping zone is famous for its wide variety of Chinese food and gift stalls.
Regarded as a national heritage site, the street was renovated in the early 2000s and now features Chinese-style arches at its two entrances. It is entirely covered by a green roof, hence it’s name, the “Green Dragon.”
-major shopping district
-recently renovated with covered roof and arched gates
-wide variety of Chinese gifts and food
5. Central Market
Another shopping area, this market has two floors and has been renovated several times. The oldest section of the market was built in 1888 during British colonial rule in Malaysia, when it was a favorite spot for local tin miners to sell their wares.
In 1937, a new main building was completed in the Art Deco style. An annex to the main area was opened in 2006, adding even more vendors. Today, the market is best known for its art galleries, theaters, and music performances, which are held year round.
-heritage Art Deco site
-art, music, and movie displays in the annex
-multiple floors of shopping and food stalls
6. Sri Mahamariamman Temple
Situated on the edge of Chinatown, this is Malaysia’s oldest Hindu temple and was completed in 1873. Comprised of several buildings, the temple features many different architectural styles.
Its newest building, built in 1968, is the impressive South-Indian style “Raja Gopuram” tower.
The temple is home to a silver chariot, made in India, which is used each year during the city’s popular Thaipusam festival.
-oldest Hindu temple in Malaysia
-location of silver chariot
-incorporates South-Indian architecture
7. Merdeka Square
Translated as “Independence Square,” this is the place where, at midnight on the night of August 31st, 1957, the British (Union) flag was lowered and replaced with the new flag of Malaysia, marking the country’s independence from British rule.
Originally, the site had been a cricket green, and the Sultan Samad building lies just behind the green. One of Malaysia’s most important historical buildings and relics of the colonial era, it was built in 1897 by British architect A.C. Norman.
After housing Malaysia’s Supreme Court and then being abandoned for some years, the building now houses the Ministry of Heritage, Culture, and Arts.
Each year, the square is the site of the annual National Day parade marking independence. A plaque marking the exact site of independence is present, as is one of the tallest flagpoles in the world (95 feet).
-site where Malaysian independence was granted
-location of Ministry of Heritage
-near the Sultan Samad building
8. Lake Gardens
This large-scale urban park near the Houses of Parliament has plenty of places for the entire family to explore!
Built in 1888 and covering over 230 acres, it has a hibiscus garden, an orchid garden, a butterfly house, a deer park, and a bird park. The bird park features over 200 species and is the world’s largest covered bird park and the largest bird park in Southeast Asia.
The National Monument is located within the Lake Gardens. Open year round, free guided walking tours are available on Sundays.
Park trams run regularly to shuttle visitors to the park’s many attractions, and bicycles are also available to rent and use inside the park.
-largest bird park in Southeast Asia
-over 230 acres of gardens
Note: photo above is not representational.
9. The National Museum
Next door to the Lake Gardens is the National Museum, which is dedicated entirely to Malaysian culture and heritage.
A museum has been present on this site since 1898, but some of it was destroyed by U.S. forces during World War II. The present building was constructed in 1963 and is a three-story structure. Its front facade resembles a palace and is built in the Rumah Gadang architectural style.
Both traditional Malaysian and modern elements are incorporated into the design. The museum houses four permanent galleries, each with varied displays. Traditional musical instruments, wildlife, costumes, weddings and celebrations, arts and crafts are all exhibited.
Outside of the main galleries, the museum’s grounds have additional outdoor exhibits. Visitors can explore the history of Malaysia’s transportation system, where a collection of cars and other transport vehicles are featured, including the Melaka Bullock Cart, which looks like an American covered wagon, and the Proton Saga, a Malaysian-made car from 1985.
Perhaps the most interesting attraction within the grounds is the Istana Satu. It’s an original timber palace, made of cengal wood. Built in a traditional Malaysian style called Terengganu, it was originally constructed in 1884 and moved to the museum grounds in 1974. To enable air flow and natural cooling, the house is raised on stilts and has a thatched roof.
-collection of old and new transportation vehicles
-Istana Satu (timber palace)
-Malaysian costumes, musical instruments, and crafts on display
10. Jamek Mosque
Located at the meeting point of the Klang and Gombak rivers, this mosque was built in 1909 and was designed by Arthur Hubback, who also designed the Sultan Samad building.
Featuring 2 minarets, it represents a combination of Moorish, Mugal, and Indo-Saracenic (Neo-Mugal) architectural styles. Jamek Mosque was Kuala Lumpur’s main mosque until 1965, when the National Mosque was completed.
-early 20th-century architecture
-located next to 2 rivers
-largest mosque in Malaysia until 1965
11. Hotel Majestic
This historic hotel dates from 1932 and was used by Japanese soldiers during World War Two. Featuring 51 original rooms, the now refurbished hotel, complete with an additional wing of new rooms, has recently reopened after being closed for more than 28 years.
-historic Art Deco style hotel
-recently renovated and reopened
-used in World War Two
12. Batu Caves
A commuter train can take your family to this majestic attraction, situated in Gombak, just outside of Kuala Lumpur. Batu Caves is the site of a limestone hill which contains several caves and temples built into the caves.
A large gold statue of Lord Murugan, to whom this place is dedicated, guards the entrance to the caves. As one of the most popular sites for Hindu pilgrimages outside of India, Batu Caves serves as the end destination of the parade during the annual Hindu Thaipusam festival.
Macaque monkeys are plentiful at this location, and though they’re cute, visitors should steer clear of them, as they can be territorial and may bite.
Rock climbing adventure packages are available at Batu Caves, and for the truly adventurous, there are also some undeveloped caves here, which have many species of spiders and other local fauna.
-gold statue of Lord Murugan
13. Berjaya Times Square
This large mall has lots of attractions to keep both kids and parents happy! And, the prices are much more affordable than they are at some of the city’s other malls. In addition to the food court, the mall houses a bowling alley, an archery range, a movie theater, and an amusement park, complete with a roller coaster.
14. KLCC Park
Set against the dazzling background of the Petronas Towers, this kid-friendly park includes a playground, and admission to all sections of the park is free.
There are several trails with gentle, flat terrain for walking or running, and wading pools will offer a break from the city heat.
Water fountains add to the feeling of serenity the park provides. For a truly memorable occasion, watch the nightly water fountain show, which begins just after dark. Tourists and locals alike gather there for relaxation, and different colors are used to illuminate the water, making for a breathtaking display.
-active outing with walking trails
-water fountain light show
15. Farm in the City
For those who want a more up close, personalized animal encounter, this is a must-see, and it’s just on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur.
The farm boasts a reptile area, bird center, koi pond, turtle section, and snake habitat. Peacocks, geese, rabbits, guinea pigs, deer, and iguanas live here, too. Visitors can get really close to the animals at the farm.
Kids are invited into a rabbit and guinea pig area where they can touch and handle the small creatures, and feeding the deer is allowed.
-true, up-close encounters with the animals
-peacocks and iguanas
-feed deer by hand
-rabbit and guinea pig petting zoo
16. National Science Center
Nestled on a tranquil hilltop in the heart of the city, the National Science Center is full of hands-on, immersive exhibits that educate visitors in a fun and memorable way.
The building itself pays homage to its natural surroundings as it is shaped like a modernist mosque covered in green. Inside are exhibits that walk visitors through the entire scope of scientific discovery from past to present. Highlights include a “moon walking” experience, and there are many interactive science experiments for kids to do.
Play areas are incorporated throughout the museum, ensuring that families can take a break whenever they want.
The center has Malaysia’s first freshwater aquarium that is built over visitor’s heads (instead of around them), complete with 32 species of fish. For additional entertainment, an educational film is projected into the center of the museum’s dome.
-tranquil setting in the heart of the city
-moon walking experience
17. Royal Malaysian Air Force Museum
This museum showcases a wide variety of planes, including fighter jets and helicopters. Nearly 20 planes are on display, and admission to the main section of the museum is free.
Visitors can delight in a truly interactive experience and enjoy sitting in the aircraft cockpits and looking at missiles and other aircraft equipment and controls.
There are even a few aircraft-inspired activities in which to participate. For example, visitors can practice the same routine paratroopers use to parachute out of planes.
-over 20 planes available
-hands-on experience at the controls
18. Skytrex Adventure
Suitable for all ages, this tree canopy adventure allows you to tour the forest while riding on a zipline, standing on a viewing platform in the treetops, or perching on tree logs.
Located in a corner of the Shah Alam National Agricultural Park, the tour has 15 different levels of difficulty, with a special “Little Ones” tour for younger children.
Safety is a top priority, and visitors can choose the difficulty levels and challenges they consider appropriate. This is certainly one of the most unique ways to view Malaysia and one of the most exhilarating items to add to any trip itinerary.
-safe, active fun for the entire family
-see the forest from multiple angles
-zipline and viewing platforms
-separate experience package for small children
19. Petrosains Discovery Center
Founded by the Petronas Oil Company and located on the fourth floor of the Petronas Towers, this family-friendly science center has a variety of interactive displays and first opened in 1999.
Unlike other science centers, most of the exhibits here emphasize petroleum, fossils, and space exploration. There are 11 main exhibits, and they can be viewed in any order. Highlights include the Molecule Nano World, which is a miniature theater specializing in 3D movies.
It seats only 32 people. The “Dark Ride” exhibit features motorized black pods shaped like oil drops. Passengers sit in these pods in small groups and are transported through a display that illustrates the natural habitats of Malaysia and how they are evolving in the new millennium.
As they journey through the display, visitors can relax and marvel at the sights as they pass through rainforests, mountains, and even the sea.
At the Petrojaya area, one can enter a tiny village to learn about how petrochemicals are used in everyday life, guided along by fun cartoon figures.
-located inside Petronas Towers
-11 exhibits about petroleum and science
-entertaining cartoons guide you around the exhibits
-informative movie presentation
This education center helps children think about possible future careers and gives them a glimpse of what it might be like to do certain jobs.
Designed as a miniature city, kids can try out over 90 different jobs, such as doctors, pilots, lawyers, bankers, journalists, or fire fighters. The miniature town has its own fashion boutique, where girls can be models and walk on a catwalk.
A newspaper agency is also in the village, and kids are given reporting assignments where they gather news; they can also choose to distribute newspapers to other townspeople.
-gets kids interested in careers
-hands-on experience and practice at certain tasks
-over 90 different job choices available
21. Aquaria Aquarium
Located within the Kuala Lumpur Convention Center Complex, this exceptional aquarium features more than 5,000 exhibits.
With both freshwater and marine habitats on display, visitors can stroll through 8 varied sections to view sea snakes, tiger sharks, blue rays, seahorses, and much more.
Many interactive options are available, including touch tanks for touching different animals, a “diving with sharks” experience, and even a simulated boat deck.
-simulated boat deck
-diving with sharks experience
-both freshwater and marine habitats
22. i-City Theme Park
This theme park is best known for its LED light displays. Nestled near the Skytrex Adventure in Shah Alam, it has a water park, a snow park, a man-made forest of artificial trees that are illuminated by LED’s, and a 3D museum.
Similar in style to an American fairground, it also features carnival attractions such as a carousel, a large Ferris wheel, arcade games, and booths with cotton candy.
In addition to the LED forest display, the park has a collection of plastic birds, including flamingos and peacocks, which are also lit by LED’s.
-theme park near Skytrex Adventure
-water park and snow park
-artificial forest with LED light shows
-carnival atmosphere includes cotton candy, Ferris wheel, and carousel
23. Kuala Lumpur Tower
Completed in 1995, this single tower is the 7th tallest freestanding structure in the world. Used for communication, its antenna is 1,381 feet high.
It functions as an Islamic falak observatory, watching the lunar cycles for the crescent moon, which indicates the beginning of several months on the Islamic calendar.
Providing visitors with the highest panoramic views of Kuala Lumpur, the tower features a unique revolving restaurant, a zoo, pony rides, a movie theater, and a display showcasing the variety of Malaysian home architectural styles.
-highest panoramic views of Kuala Lumpur
24. Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary
A truly special activity for the entire family, this elephant sanctuary is free of charge to visit, although donations are requested. Visitors can get up close to these magnificent creatures, feeding them by hand and even taking a ride on them over land or in the water.
-feed elephants or ride on them
-see these animals in their natural habitat
25. Kanching Rainforest Waterfalls
With a forest, 4 different waterfalls, and the possibility of seeing some monkeys along the way, this nature adventure is ideal for families with older children.
Some of the terrain on the trail through the forest can be a bit too bumpy for younger kids. Your journey begins with a short hike on the forest trail, and you can then view each of the 4 waterfalls, even swimming in the waterfall pools.
This would make a distinctive beginning or conclusion to any trip to Kuala Lumpur.
-hiking trail and 4 waterfalls
-possibility of seeing monkeys
-can swim in the waterfall pools